Friday, September 10, 2010
Anyhow…..I may not be as funny as last time I blogged here, but what I am writing today is crucial information for anyone who cares about grammar – and that’s you (isn’t it?)……
I have two new heroes. Their names are Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson. I worship them so much that I have “friended” them on Facebook. In case you don’t know who these two bold gentlemen are, they recently returned from The Great Typo Hunt, a car drive from coast to coast of the United States in which they located and corrected typos! The journey has now been made into a book and a blog. I will give you the link later. Mr. Deck, a former spelling bee champion, and his friend Benjamin Herson found over 400 typos on their trip….and they corrected about 55 percent of them -- sometimes getting into a little hot water!
They did have some ground rules:
1. The typos needed to be in the public domain – things that everyone could see, like menus and signs.
2. They would not be unkind to those whose native language is not English.
3. They corrected only text, not any speech.
4. They learned not to correct a menu item until after the food was served!
Now, you and I both know that these really were not all typos….a typo is when your fingers inadvertently hit the wrong key, right? Those silly headlines that Jay Leno shows us are not really typos. For the most part, these are MISTAKES!!!!!
Well, as a former editor, current teacher, and author of The Best Little Grammar Book Ever, I know a mistake when I see one. Or hear one! What do you think are some of the most common mistakes in grammar (“grammar” meaning spelling, punctuation, and usage)? Well, I have a book full of mistakes, but when I really think about it, there are a very few mistakes that appear over and over and over again. I was hoping to give you a Top Ten List, but alas, I think it is going to be a mere Top Four!
In no real particular order, here are the Top Four Grammar Mistakes of the Current Time:
4. What is with that apostrophe in a plain, old plural noun?
Here are my vacation photo’s! What?? Oh, you mean photos!!
NO apostrophe in a plural noun unless it is a number, letter, or symbol (a’s, 5’s, &’s)
3. Doesn’t anyone know the difference between your and you’re anymore, or are they just too lazy to use the apostrophe? (Hint: Take the apostrophe from the plural it doesn’t belong in!)
I hope your coming with us. Huh??? Oh, you mean you’re!
2. Just because you say “Harry and I are going to the movies,” you don’t have to use I all the time. Sometimes it really is ME!
He gave the tickets to my friend and I. Well, if he didn’t give the tickets to I,
then he didn’t give the tickets to my friend and I either!
YOU CANNOT SEPARATE TWO SENTENCES WITH A COMMA!!!!! (Oh, I am sorry….am I shouting?) You just can’t. It is called a comma splice.
I hope you can attend the meeting, it will be very productive. Sorry, no way.
(Oh, is that a comma splice?) There are several ways to fix this:
I hope you can attend the meeting. It will be very productive.
I hope you can attend the meeting; it will be very productive.
I hope you can attend the meeting because it will be very productive.
If you would like more information about The Great Typo Hunt: http://greattypohunt.com/?page_id=651">http://greattypohunt.com/?page_id=651
If you would like to visit my website:
If you would like to see my book trailer: (scroll down to see the video)
-- Arlene Miller (The Word Wench)
Arlene Miller was a writer and editor for many years (newspapers, books, technical manuals) before becoming an English teacher several years ago. She has a degree in Journalism, a graduate degree (it look seven years!) in Humanities, and a teaching credential. Originally from Boston (Bahston), she has two young adult children, no Boston accent, and lives just a bit north of the Golden Gate Bridge in California. In her former life (until about 8 years ago), she was also a tap dancer